This year India celebrated its 69th Independence Day.
“When the British left, India was a multireligious, multiregional, multiethnic country, exploited, backward, and poor from colonialism.”
― Prem Kishore,
After Independence India was in a tattered state. The ambition of two leaders led to emergence of two different countries, India and Pakistan. Around 8 million people were homeless and jobless refugees. When I look back I realize Indians have come a long way be it in the growth of economy or population. We are among one of the growing economy and one of the largest democracy in the world. We have nuclear weapons and our satellite has reached Mars (mangalyan).However, there are a few things that can be changed, modified or amended.
1. The caste system
I come from an orthodox family. My grandparents used to stay in a village and every year during the summer vacation we used to visit them. The village is divided in to two parts by a flowing river. There is a over bridge connecting the two parts of the village. My grandma would always ask me and my cousins to not to visit the other part of the village. As a kid I was so curious to do things not being told to do, that I invoked my cousins also to visit the other part of the village. To our surprise the other part is the replica of the part where we stay. The temples, the water wells and houses almost everything was similar. Back home when we told my grandma that we visited the other part of the city she scolded us. She didn’t touch me, made me take a bath again and asked me to visit the temple. She didn’t talk to me and my mother for 5 days, performed some puja at home, to wipe off all the blasphemy I had done. That was the first day I was exposed to the word caste and that explained my grandmas’ weird behavior towards me. Indians specially Hindus had divided themselves in to various castes, the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, shudras and vaishyas. This was done to identify people based on the work they did. Brahmins generally were the priests or the scholars, Kshatriyas were the fighters, vaishyas were the merchants and shudras were the ones who did all the menial work. However, we are now in the 21st century, we do what we love, we choose our profession based on our ability, yet we abide to our caste system. What is the need of the caste based division in the 21st century? Why can’t we have an India without the caste system? Why while filling a government form the first thing we write is our caste? I guess India is the only country having such sub divisions. It’s high time for us to get rid of the major stigma to our society the caste system.
“When we choose a mobile network, do we check whether Airtel or Vodafone belong to a particular caste? No, we simply choose the provider based on the best value or service. Then why do we vote for somebody simply because he belongs to the same caste as us?”
― Chetan Bhagat,
2. The arranged marriages
Gayatri, one of my distant cousins, was a prodigy. She topped the state boards in both her 10th and 12th standard. Every other day I had to hear “Gayatri Puran”(the stories of her success). My mom used to take me to visit Gayatri for her valuable advice. My mom thought I would improve my score if I meet people like Gayatri. The only thing I used to like about her was her collection of awesome earrings and shoes. After her High School she studied medicine and topped there too. After her M.B.B.S she started preparing for her Masters. We all knew she was going to make it big! During her M.B.B.S she started dating a guy from another community, as soon as her parents came to know about her affair, they started to convince her about the side affects of love marriage. They reached out to her friends, her teachers and even a Baba, to make her realise that she is committing a grave mistake. So to tackle this issue her parents started searching a guy for her. She tried to convince them but all her attempts were futile. After a month she got married to a rich, handsome and an NRI doctor. Everyone was happy and her parents were on cloud nine as finally they were bidding adieu to their beloved child.Months passed by, my mom decided to visit Gayatris’ family and we were happy to see Gayatri there. we thought she was visiting her parents for few days, however to our dismay she had filed for divorce from her gay husband.
As a child we are taught not to talk to strangers, however as an adult we have to accept the marriage proposal of someone whom we have never met in our life. We agree to get married to the person our parents choose for us. Why don’t we stand for ourselves and disagree to their decision? I have seen many of my friends getting married to someone because of parental pressure. Why we still believe in the age old arranged marriage philosophy? Are we not confident about our choices?
3. Praising India born foreigners
Pichai, Nadella, Nooyi, these are the few names of the India born successful Americans, and are at the best positions in their respective organisations. We Indians love celebrations and we don’t forget to celebrate the success of these India born Americans. I have nothing against America or these India born Americans. However my small mind always asks, Is it right to take pride in their success?? Why we Indians take pride when someone’s son/ daughter settles in any other country but India? Why are 60% software professional in Silicon Valley are Indians? Why there are few India born Indians receiving Nobel Award?
4. The Saas -Bahu serials
Ekta Kapoor in 90’s became famous for her series of the Saas Bahu serials. Most of the Indian women started correlating themselves with the Tulsi of Kyunki….. Her lead characters in the serial connected with millions of housewives who were frustrated with the daily household chores. However, now the we want to see something new, we are bored of watching the same kind of story in every serial. I really admired Ashutosh Gowarikar for coming up with a new concept and showcasing it on the national television. We Indians are very creative people, we need not to copy the Americans, but can’t we create our own Game of Thrones, Sherlock Holmes, Big Bang theory or even friends?
5. Wuman in India !!
We Indians celebrate the Durga festival for 9 days. We believe that after the 9 days of war Goddess Durga kills the evil Mahaishashur so that we can live happily ever after.
“…the designation of wife in India, of the Hindu wife, is higher and grander than that of Empress. She is called Devi”
― Virchand Gandhi
From the anecdotes that my relatives tell, my dad was extremely happy when I was born. He had organised a grand celebration to mark my arrival. But this is not a regular scene in the country. When a baby girl is born her birth isn’t celebrated. Sometimes she is even killed her mothers’ womb. The sex ratio of 827 as opposed to 1000 (in one of the states in India) explains this story. Why On one hand we worship Goddess Durga while on the other hand kill the unborn child? Why Indians don’t respect women? Why in Indian movies women are objectified?
I was playing at the tennis court and a blonde entered the court in her tennis skirt. She was a beautiful and tall, with a well maintained body. Suddenly, the atmosphere in the court changed, everyone including the coach were staring at her. I was taken back a little. I couldn’t understand the reason for the unusual behavior. Why wearing a short dress makes a female obscene? Why there are so many rape cases in India? Why India is considered the unsafe country for female travelers?
6. Sex education
I never took a sex education class as a teenager , neither my parents told me about it. When my father asked my mother to educate me on sex, she declined. She assumed that I know everything as I was a biology student. Ironically , my class teacher excluded that particular chapter of human anatomy. Neither did I know about the porn movies nor did I know about the Google. However, I decided to decode the mystery of the birth of a human child. I asked many of my class mates who were also sailing the same boat as me. I had heard that encyclopaedia could answer some of my questions if not all. So I went to the school library searched the encyclopaedia and read the mechanism behind child birth. I am sure most of the Indians face this. We are not at all educated about sex as a teenager. Why schools are so scared to talk about sex? Why parents don’t educate kids about sex?
I know there could be many other views, many other suggestions to make our country a perfect one. I remember the dialogue of a famous Hindi movie Rang De Basanti, no country is perfect and the citizens of that country are responsible for its progress. I am and will always be proud of my country. Jai hind!